What Is Downshifting?

At its core, downshifting means working less and enjoying life more — slowing down the treadmill in order to find fulfillment, balance, and meaning in our lives. Most downshifters share these common goals:

  • Spending less time working and commuting to/from work.
  • Enjoying more quality time with family and friends.
  • Actively contributing to our local communities.
  • Avoiding the waste of money, time, or other valuable limited resources.

In order to accomplish these goals, downshifting often involves a conscious choice to simplify one’s life through a variety of means, including:

  • Eliminating unnecessary possessions.
  • Eliminating debt.
  • Eating simple, “real” food.
  • Living in a smaller home.
  • Saying “no” to time commitments that that do not contribute to overall life satisfaction.

While many of us probably dream of quitting our jobs, living off the grid in a cabin in the woods, growing our own food, etc., a radical lifestyle change of that magnitude simply isn’t practical or possible for many of us, at least not right away. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make small changes in our lives right now that will bring those dreams a little closer to our realities. Downshifting should not be viewed as an end goal, but rather as an ongoing process and way of life. Downshifting is all about reclaiming our time, and our lives, by finding our own unique work/life balances. We can control the speed of the treadmill!

Through Downshifter’s Journal, I plan to chronicle the ups and downs of my own downshifting journey, while gathering together helpful resources and info, and sharing other downshifters’ tales, tips, and fears as well. I look forward to connecting with you all as we build this community together!

For more information on the Downshifting movement, please check out Wikipedia and Slow Movement.

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